Palm trees add tropical fun to a classroom. Construct them from discarded materials and common school or crafting supplies. Use this design for either a wall-attached tree or a three dimensional, free-standing tree. Palm trees work well as a fun classroom addition or as a learning tool for a unit on the tropics or plants and trees. You will have no trouble completing several in an afternoon from this design.
Things you need
- Brown butcher or notice board paper, 1.8 m by 25 cm (6 feet by 10 inches)
- Crayons or pastels
- Discarded cardboard tube, approximately 1.8 m by 25 cm (6 feet by 10 inches)
- Green poster board, butcher paper or paper bags, 90 cm by 30 cm (3 feet by 1 foot)
- Wide masking or packaging tape
- Newspaper strips, 2.5 cm by 30 cm (1 inch by 12 inches)
- 3 to 5 round balloons
- Papier mache paste (1 part water and 1 part flour)
- Light brown paint
- Paint brush
- Embroidery needle
- Large plant pots or buckets
- Sand, gravel or dirt
Create a flat palm tree on a wall by cutting a palm tree trunk shape of desired size from bin bags, craft paper, light brown butcher paper or notice board paper. Create the ridges that encircle the trunk for a more convincing look of bark texture. Draw these as horizontal lines with crayon, marker or pastels.
Create a three dimensional boot from a discarded cardboard tube. Wrap newspaper around the bottom of the trunk to enlarge it slightly. Over the newspaper and around the remainder of the carpet tube, wrap brown or beige paper so that edges overlap as you wrap. This gives a realistic ridged, palm trunk look to the trunk. Attach the paper with loops of masking or wide packaging tape pressed against the tube.
Make the palm fronds from green poster board, butcher paper or paper bags that you colour green. Cut out palm frond shaped leaves about 90 cm (3 feet) long and about 30 cm (1 foot) wide in the middle. Palm fronds have an elongated, pointed oval shape that is widest at its middle and tapers to a near point at both ends.
Make your palm fronds more realistic by drawing a line the length of the entire middle with dark green marker. Create the fringed look of palm fronds by making small cuts, approximately 5 cm (2 inches) apart, along both edges of the frond. Make the cuts deepest at the widest portion of the frond.
Attach the fronds to the top end of the trunk with tape loops. Allow some fronds to droop down the sides of the tree. If using butcher paper or paper bags, tape two fronds together several times so that you have some stiffer fronds that extend up a bit in the middle of the tree.
Use balloons and papier-mâché to create coconuts if desired. Mix 118 ml (2 cups water) and 200 g (2 cups) flour in bowl. Cut the newspaper into 2.5 cm (1 inch) strips. Blow up the balloons to approximately coconut size and tie.
Dip the newspaper strips in the papier-mâché paste in bowl, wiping off some excess as you pull the strip out. Wrap the strips around the balloons, crisscrossing them and making them two or three layers thick. Cover the entire balloon. Allow them to dry overnight then pop the balloon by sticking a pin through the newspaper.
Paint the papier-mâché coconuts light brown and allow them to dry completely. Once dry, use a needle and monofilament to push through the coconut and create a loop of monofilament attached to each coconut. Attach them to the top of the trunk, between the fronds, using clear tape and the monofilament loop.
Make your palm tree stand, by first gathering some large plant pots or buckets. Place the trunk into the pot or bucket. Have someone hold the tree straight while you pour sand, gravel or dirt into it around the trunk. Pack the sand, gravel or soil tightly around the trunk bottom to secure it.
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